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Who was Arya Bhata? Astronomer and Mathematician

By | 2017-07-21T13:45:00+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Nalanda University, Patna, India Arya Bhata was born about 476 AD in India. He probably came from central India, though nobody knows for sure. When Arya Bhata was a teenager, he left his hometown. He traveled to Kusumapura (modern Patna) in north-eastern India, on the banks of the Ganges river, to study at Nalanda university. At this [...]

Who is Vishnu? – Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T13:35:30+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Vishnu and Lakshmi (Kashmir, 1000s AD now in Los Angeles) Vishnu was one of the Hindu gods. He was mentioned in the Rig Veda as a god of light and the sun. But people first began to worship Vishnu as a really important god around 300 BC. About this time, people began to think about Vishnu as being like the sun's energy, everywhere, [...]

Vessantara Jataka – Buddhism – India

By | 2017-08-03T21:58:55+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Vessantara and Maddi and their two children (Sanchi stupa, Northern Gateway, ca. 50 BC) This Buddhist story is a Jataka tale from about 400 BC. In the story, the Indian boddhisatva Vessantara wanted to give up everything for Buddhism. He gave up his kingdom and all his money and lived with his wife and children in the forest. Jujaka and his young wife [...]

The god Varuna – Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T13:25:30+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Monsoon rain (Goa) Around 1000 BC, in the Vedic period in India, Varuna was an important Hindu god. Varuna was originally a sky god - his name means "the one who covers everything." Often people think of Varuna as a rain god. He represented order in the universe (against the forces of chaos). Some parts of Varuna's identity, at [...]

Shiva – Hindu god – Ancient India

By | 2017-07-21T13:13:00+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

The Hindu god Shiva Shiva was a Hindu fertility god, who made the crops grow. He was not mentioned in the Rig Veda, about 1000 BC, and seems to have come into Hinduism later than that. Around 300 BC, in the Mauryan period, people began worshipping Shiva. This might be another name for the Harappan god Rudra. But unlike the earlier Hindu gods, [...]

What’s the Rig Veda? Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T13:08:21+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

The Rig Veda in Sanskrit (from the 1800s AD) The Rig Veda is a group of poems that people in India first sang and recited maybe about 1500 BC. That was soon after the Yamnaya - the Indo-Europeans - arrived in India. For hundreds of years, people passed down these poems by reciting them out loud. They [...]

Buddhist nuns in ancient India and China

By | 2017-08-12T16:37:36+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Modern Buddhist nuns in northern India The earliest Buddhists in India were both men and women, and there were Buddhist nuns as early as Buddhist monks. Some early Buddhist monastic communities had both men and women. This is normal for movements that are just getting started and have a lot of radical members who believe in equality. [...]

What is Nirvana? Indian religion

By | 2017-07-21T11:29:52+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Wheel of Life (Konark Sun temple, Odisha, India, 1200s AD) About 300 BC, Hindu people in India began to feel that they didn't like the idea of being reincarnated over and over again forever. Instead, they wondered what it would be like to be free from greed, money, work and slavery. People thought maybe it would be better to [...]

Buddhist monks in ancient India

By | 2017-07-21T11:23:59+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Takht-i Bahi, a Buddhist monastery in eastern Pakistan (about 50 AD) While Gautama Buddha was still alive, about 500 BC, some men and women in India who were following his teachings decided to try to live as pure and as good a life as they could. They left their work and their families and all their stuff to live alone or in small [...]

Who is Lakshmi? Hindu goddess – India

By | 2017-07-21T11:07:45+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Lakshmi (Sanchi Stupa, central India, 200s BC) Lakshmi was (and is) a Hindu goddess of light, wealth, good luck and success. Her name comes from the Sanskrit word laks, which can mean "light" or "goal". And that comes from an earlier Yamnaya word for "bright and shiny". There are statues of Lakshmi starting about 500 BC, but she probably became a [...]